Monday, 23 February 2015

Children with character {It's "the way God made them"}

Yesterday, we had a lady from Church come to our home for Sunday dinner.

As we were getting dinner ready, Elijah, my four year old, came into the kitchen.  He started up a conversation with our friend, that went something like this.

"Tell me things that melt"

Simultaneously, two adult brains were working overtime, to think of things to tell this little man.



"Plastic - definitely when you put it near your gas stove...."


"Metal - although it depends on what type it is." (Verging on TMI for a four year old, there....)

Having, apparently, received satisfactory answers, he went on to his next question.

"Tell me things that die".


This one he started to answer for himself.

"Well, flowers die -   and, some people die.  Animals die, too."

Our friend, who had Elijah in her arms, said "Where do you get all these big thoughts from?"

"God just made me this way", was his answer.


My mind, today, went back through the memories of his life.  He was my VBAC baby. A precious gift after the transforming experience of an emergency c-section.  He was the child who I prayed over, and asked God to give me as a "fresh start" baby.  I knew if I had a VBAC I could carry on with further babies without that whole "ohhhhh, you had a section?" point of view from doctors.  Less pressure.  More "freedom" to receive blessings from God without the Spanish Inquisition. I researched so much about how to have the best delivery. How to be more in control of the experience of child birth.  How to wait on God for His timing for delivery, so I would be less likely to need intervention. More than anything else, I prayed that God's will would be done.  I knew, from the c-section delivery, that you can be ever so prepared, and God says "No, my child, THIS is the way it will go".  I prayed, and I prayed, about that delivery, and God answered my prayer.  I got my VBAC, and to top it all off, it was my best labour,up  to that point, too.

It wasn't long, however, before I realised that there's more to life than the "perfect" delivery.  a delivery lasts hours, but a baby is there all the time.  Elijah very quickly turned out to be my hardest baby to date.  He had, we think, silent reflux.  He didn't like to lie down.  He didn't sleep for long stretches.  He was high maintenance, in a big way.  In order to maintain sanity, I discovered "baby wearing".  It was the only way he was happy - upright. Up until that point, I was becoming a frazzled mess, when normally I am fairly chilled out. IT was hard work to carry a baby throughout the day, whilst still trying to do school, tidy, clean and prepare food. The Lord, in His mercy, still allowed me to find perspective.  I thought about the many others I may be able to share my story with - about researching labour, about trusting God, about my experiences with a grumpy baby.  God used this child to show me more of Himself.  Patience.  Unconditional love.  Gentleness.  Kindness.  Compassion.  Sympathy.

Slowly, but surely, he improved -  once he was sitting up more, and eating more solids.  Except, he wouldn't eat SOLIDS.  Liquids, yes, but anything with a tiny lump would get thrown back up. He was WAY over the age of one before he could tolerate "normal" food.  It was hard work.

Then I was pregnant again - and he was still not sleeping through the night.  We finally got that sorted, by just ignoring him crying in the night.  It was so hard, but my body needed sleep to grow our new baby, and to maintain the energy needed to look after my 6 children.

Older still, he grew, and he had his funny little ways.  He didn't like to be thrown in the air - right from when he was still young enough not to think about it being "scary".  He had obsessions about things.  Very particular about the way things needed to be done. Not very able to cope with things new and different.

Then came his drawing.  That boy LOVES to draw pictures, and, from a younger age than I remember the others doing so, he would draw for endless ages.  He still does, and I find copious numbers of  pictures everywhere.  Pictures, with half of the attempts scribbled out, because they aren't "right".

Of late, the deep thinking has come.  He asks questions, very often of a spiritual nature, and remembers the answers.

"Mummy, did you know God is IN THE ROOM? WE can't SEE Him, but he's here, you know"

"Mummy, when we do bad things it's the devil telling us to do them.  We need to listen to GOD, and do GOOD things.  We MUSTN'T listen to the devil, when he tells us to do bad things, you know."

All said with SUCH a serious expression, and great intensity, making me want to laugh and cry at the same moment.

THIS is Elijah.

The little boy who spoke the words "This is the way God made me".

I don't just have Elijah, though, of course.  I have seven other children.  Each of them unique.  Each of them so very special to us.  They have precious character traits that make them just who they are.












Too much to list.  All incredibly special traits.

But, the truth of it all struck home, as he uttered those words.  Each of our children, with their traits that come to them as naturally as breathing, are who God made them to be.  No two of them the same - and trust me, having 8 children soon shows you the diversity of character.  A child's character traits, with all the challenges they bring, make them the unique person who they are.

It got me to thinking back to Elijah's whole "Life story".

As a parent, we receive a new born baby with such great pleasure.  As that child is placed into our arms, we have NO IDEA what their life is going to be like.  They are like tiny treasure chests, waiting to reveal the secret of what lies within. We watch and wait, as day by day we see them become just who God created them to be.  As a baby grows older and reaches that age where you see THEM, and not just baby, the story starts to unfold.  Little things they do, the way they do things, and the expressions their face displays.  The way they speak, the way they smile. What makes them laugh, what makes them cry. As they get older still, the things that interest them become apparent. Over, and over again, their individuality becomes clear.

Like Elijah, each child has traits that are not always easy for the parent.  I'm not talking about their little hearts that are born with sin.  That, of course, is the biggest challenge of parenting - training them in "the way they should go".  I'm talking about their character, which can bring challenges.  It brings challenges because it challenges US.  It challenges us, as parents, to nurture their character, and not fight it.  It challenges us to try and understand how their little heads and hearts operate, to better love and direct them as they grow.  It challenges us to move outside the comfort zone of what is "normal" to us, and see that it my not be "normal" for someone else.   It challenges us to embrace the "different", and to love it and appreciate it.

When Elijah was placed in my arms, I was filled with such joy and triumph.  I had achieved something, by God's grace and strength, which I had longed for, for so long. I was relieved, and elated.  Had I known then what kind of child he would be, my joy may not have been quite so full.  I'm so glad only God knows the future! But, with hindsight, I see how God has taught me so much through it all.  Not just through HIS life - although it seemed pivotal in many ways - but through the life of each child God has gifted us with. Each life, created in His image, to HIS glory.  Each life, with  personality that is God-given, and which holds SO much potential to be used to His glory.

Like treasure, we hold each child's character in our hands.  If you hold treasure, it's worthless  unless you see the potential in it, and do something with it.  Treasure that isn't invested, in some way, isn't treasure at all - it's just an object. Likewise, if we don't DO something with the traits that our children have, they are not worth so much.  We have to give them opportunities to develop those traits.  We need to invest them by placing them where they can grow and bring worth.  We need to direct them as to how to harness the potential and make it grow in a good way.  We need to look out for the ways it could make them stumble or struggle, and guide them in using their character wisely.  Each child, a little treasure, full of potential.

Above all else, we need to thank God for them - over, and over, and over.  What we see, as Elijah reminded me yesterday, is the way GOD made them.  When we read in the Bible that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made", that doesn't just mean our physical being.  It's every part of us - and it includes our minds, and how they work.  Those minds that incline us towards different strengths and weaknesses.  As hard as some days me be, as our children stretch the "muscles" of their personalities, and test us as they learn and grow in character, we need to give thanks "In every thing". Give thanks, and train them up in the way they should go.

Our children, all different - it's the way God made them.  Let's give thanks, and invest those treasures to the best of our ability.

My Joy-Filled Life

1 comment :

  1. Our Angela comes out with some really silly obvious stuff sometimes, and then she will come out with something quite amazing, and ask quite searching biblical questions. She often has an insight that none of the others have. Interesting, as only I seem to see that, her siblings think she is silly!